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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 453 - 468
 Header Item Medical Aids and Appliances Applications
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Long-Term Illness Scheme Budget
 Header Item General Practitioner Services
 Header Item Regional Health Forums
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Medical Card Drugs
 Header Item Mental Health Services Provision
 Header Item National Advisory Committee on Drugs Meetings
 Header Item Hospital Services
 Header Item Medicinal Products Supply
 Header Item Health Services Provision
 Header Item Orthodontic Services Fees
 Header Item Medical Card Delays

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 775 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 453 - 468

Medical Aids and Appliances Applications

 453. Deputy John Browne Information on John Browne Zoom on John Browne asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will arrange to have a replacement hearing aid approved for a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny who needs it as a matter of urgency. [40393/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services Provision

 454. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the extent to which language barriers affect public health service delivery here; the amount of money spent on translation services for frontline medical services for non-English speaking patients/staff; if technological services (details supplied) have been considered in addressing this need; [40404/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

  Question No. 455 answered with Question No. 395.

Long-Term Illness Scheme Budget

 456. Deputy Seamus Kirk Information on Seamus Kirk Zoom on Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the number of persons who are partaking in the long term illness programme; if he will provide a full patient breakdown in relation to diseases and the total cost to the Exchequer of running the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40461/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall The information requested is currently being collated by the HSE and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

General Practitioner Services

 457. Deputy Seamus Kirk Information on Seamus Kirk Zoom on Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding free general practitioner visit announced in Budget 2012, for persons who are under the long term illness programme; the date on which this will commence and the total cost to the Exchequer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40462/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall The Programme for Government commits to reforming the current public health system by introducing Universal Health Insurance with equal access to care for all. As part of this, the Government is committed to introducing, on a phased basis, GP care without fees within its first term of office. Primary legislation is required to give effect to Government commitment to introduce a universal GP service without fees.

Legislation to allow the Minister for Health to make regulations to extend access to GP services without fees to persons with prescribed illnesses is currently being drafted by this Department and the Office of the Attorney General and will be published shortly. Implementation dates and application details will be announced in due course.

An annual budget of €15 million was provided for the first phase of the roll out of GP care without fees.

Regional Health Forums

 458. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the amount paid per meeting in expenses to members of each of the Regional Health Forum since its creation. [40463/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly The Health Service Executive provides the necessary administrative services to enable the Regional Health Forums to perform their functions. I have therefore referred the Deputy's question to the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Services

 459. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will receive an appointment date for surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40470/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Medical Card Drugs

 460. Deputy David Stanton Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if there are any alternative omega 3 triclyceride products available to medical card holders free of charge under the GMS scheme since the recent removal of a drug, Omacor, from the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40499/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall In the current financial environment the Health Service Executive (HSE) is facing a challenge to deliver services in a way that will minimise any adverse impact on patients and continue to protect, as far as possible, the most vulnerable citizens.

There are no alternative Omega-3 triglyceride products available under the Community Drugs Scheme. However, these products are available over the counter.

  Question No. 461 answered with Question No. 418.

Mental Health Services Provision

 462. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the services available to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary who requires a secure placement in a Psychiatric Unit since the closure of St. Michael's Psychiatric Unit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40504/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch As this is a service matter the question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

National Advisory Committee on Drugs Meetings

 463. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly when the National Advisory Committee on Drugs will be re-constituted [40526/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall The reconstitution of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs is currently under consideration with a view to finalising arrangements in the area before the end of the year.

Hospital Services

 464. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding treatment in respect of a person (details supplied) who is a patient in Tallaght Hospital, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40534/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Medicinal Products Supply

 465. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will examine the current situation in which Alprozolam is being purchased without prescription through the internet; his views on the addictive qualities of this drug; his views in relation to the health implications of the unregulated sale of the drug; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40539/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall Alprazolam belongs to a group of medicines called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are commonly used to treat anxiety, sleep disturbance and insomnia and are known to be associated with dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Consequently, benzodiazepines are usually recommended for short-term treatment only. The Irish Medicines Board-approved prescribing information for alprazolam products states that they are only to be used when the symptoms of anxiety are severe. It is also recommended that treatment with an alprazolam product should be as short as possible and generally not more than 8 to 12 weeks, including a tapering off process.

In Ireland, benzodiazepines are prescription-only medicinal products. Under the Medicinal Products (Prescription and Control of Supply) Regulations, it is prohibited for a person to supply a prescription medicine except in accordance with a prescription and the supply must be made from a registered pharmacy by or under the personal supervision of a registered pharmacist. A person who contravenes these Regulations is guilty of an offence. The Regulations also make it illegal for prescription medicines to be supplied by mail order. The definition of mail order includes reference to electronic custom solicitation and order for supply. This includes ordering prescription medicines through internet sites.

The Irish Medicines Board is aware of illegal supply of alprazolam from internet sites outside Ireland and is working closely with the Revenue's Customs Service officials to detain supplies on entry to Ireland and, where possible, with counterpart agencies in other countries to stop the supply.

Furthermore, my Department is reviewing the Misuse of Drugs Regulations with a view to introducing additional controls on certain prescription drugs, including benzodiazepines. These include the introduction of import and export controls as well as an offence of unauthorised possession, thereby assisting the law enforcement roles of Customs and of the Garda Siochána. My Department is consulting with key stakeholders in relation to the proposed amendments and it is anticipated that new legislation will be introduced by early 2013.

Health Services Provision

 466. Deputy James Bannon Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding the provision of free GP visits in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Longford with a long-term illness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40567/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Orthodontic Services Fees

 467. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly if he will provide the waiting list over the past two and a half years of young persons seeking orthodontic treatment in County Kerry in tabular form; the steps that are being taken to ensure that persons will receive these necessary treatments in a speedy fashion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40585/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Medical Card Delays

 468. Deputy Regina Doherty Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Health Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the reason a person (details supplied) has been waiting for more than 15 months for a medical card and now faces a five month wait for an MRI scan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40586/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Róisín Shortall): Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.


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